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The September 2017 Communicator

We're back!

You’ll probably see a few changes in the Communicator this month. They say a change is as good as a rest, well… we’ll see. This is my 8th year as editor and I need some variety too, to keep me interested. Hopefully it’s getting better. 

 You can download this 40-page edition at 

My deadline for the October edition is September 20th. If you have news from your Vancouver area club, events or other items of interest please email them to me at


Solar Eclipse and Ham Radio

What Hams can expect on August 21st

On Monday, August 21, 2017, a total solar eclipse will be visible in totality within a band across the entire contiguous United States; it will only be visible in Canada and other countries as a partial eclipse. The last time a total solar eclipse was visible across the entire contiguous United States was during the June 8, 1918 eclipse. In the Vancouver, BC area we can expect about 90% coverage of the sun.

A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between Earth and the Sun, thereby totally or partly obscuring the image of the sun for a viewer on Earth. A total solar eclipse occurs when the moon's apparent diameter is larger than the sun's, blocking all direct sunlight, turning day into darkness. Totality occurs in a narrow path across Earth's surface, with the partial solar eclipse visible over a surrounding region thousands of kilometers wide.

This eclipse is the 22nd of the 77 members of Saros series 145, which also produced the solar eclipse of August 11, 1999. Members of this series are increasing in duration. The longest eclipse in this series will occur on June 25, 2522 and last for 7 minutes and 12 seconds.

Not since the February 1979 eclipse has a total eclipse been visible from Canada and the mainland United States. The path of totality will touch 14 states, though a partial eclipse will be visible in Canadian Provinces and many other US states. The event will begin on the Oregon coast as a partial eclipse at 9:06 a.m. PDT on August 21, and will end later that day as a partial eclipse along the South Carolina coast at about 4:06 p.m. EDT.

Ward Silver N0AX writes about the Solar Eclipse and Amateur Radio:

The optical effects of an eclipse are relatively obvious and well-understood. Partial solar eclipses are fairly common and lunar eclipses even more common. Not many of us have witnessed totality, but most people have seen some type of eclipse. What very few people have observed is the effect an eclipse has on radio propagation. In just over 90 minutes there are expected to be dramatic changes in both the ionosphere and HF propagation. 

Read the Nuts and Volts article at 

Befitting of our hobby, there will also be a Solar Eclipse QSO Party. The Solar Eclipse QSO Party (SEQP) is a HamSCI-ARRL sponsored operating event to generate data to study ionospheric changes during the eclipse.  Contest logging program N1MM has published a built-in SEQP logging module. Simply select "ECLIPSE" for log type:

I hope you have Monday, August 21st circled on your calendars in bright red ink... It may be a Ham Radio event to remember. 


SEPAR Weekly News

The Surrey Emergency Program Needs YOU!

Many people have said that they want SEPAR to continue to exist, and be successful. If the majority of members truly feel that way, then we need people to step up when we put on an event. There are 3 events coming up over the next couple months. All SEPAR members that are free on those days should be able to at least give SEPAR a little bit of their time. Your executive works to arrange events that are interesting. Your part is to come out. If you want to see us do something that interests you, that we are not doing, then tell us. Also, please show your commitment to SEPAR by checking into the weekly Net. It would be nice to hear from you.

Upcoming SEPAR Events

Saturday, August 26th 11:00 - 14:00 hrs will be SEPAR/RAC Day at the Surrey Amateur Radio Operational Training Centre. John-VE7TI has arranged for us to use the VE7RAC callsign for the day and there will be a couple HF stations set up for members to practice their HF skills. The Trailer will also be onsite and operational. Please join us. This is an event with other SEPAR members, and no public, so it should be a good time to socialize around the radios.

Sunday, September 10th is CN Day 11:00 - 16:00hrs. Please plan on helping out with our display there. Remember, there is always good (and free) food at this event. The location is at the CN Rail Yard at 117th Avenue and 138th Street, in Surrey [Map Link].

Saturday October 21st we will be helping Scouts during their JOTA (Jamboree On The Air). This event was held last year at the OTC. and will be again this year. It will run from 10:00hrs to 16:00hrs.  Here is a link about JOTA.


Surrey Amateur Radio is offering training and licensing for the Basic Amateur Radio Course. The course starts Tuesday September 5th, 2017 and information can be found on the Surrey Amateur Radio Club website.  

Weekly SEPAR Nets

Every Tuesday evening at 1930 hrs (7:30pm PDT) we start a ½ hour NET on a local repeater provided by the Surrey Amateur Radio Club (SARC) on 147.360 MHz +600kHz and a tone of 110.9. There may be a simplex test or a test NTS message transmitted during the NET at the Net controllers discretion. This is an excellent opportunity to practice sending and receiving this form of messaging. Besides, it adds a little spice to the regular check-ins on the net. Please join us. NTS Radiograms can be found on the SEPAR website here, or, if you would like a fillable PDF that you can enter on your computer, you can get it from here.

Thursday nights at 19:30 hours, This Net has changed! We are no longer doing a regular 2 meter simplex Net on this night. Any plans for Thursday night will be announced on the Tuesday before. This night will now be used for optional tests. For example NTS Digital exchanges, 6 meter, 2 meter 60 cm and 220 Nets. If someone wants to do a particular net on a Thursday, then please announce it on the Tuesday before.

Earthquake data for this week:

Last weeks eathquakes: Earthquakes last week
Visit our website for latest news


North Shore ARC - Advanced and CW Course

If you want to upgrade to Advanced or learn CW...

The North Shore Amateur Radio Club (NSARC) will be giving an Advanced Amateur Radio Course this fall, taking place over 6 Saturdays 9:30 am – 2 pm (September 30, October 7, 14, 21, 28 and November 4, 2017). The Exam (Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, formerly Industry Canada) is scheduled for Saturday morning, November 4, 2017. Instructors are Mark Spencer VE7AFZ and Keith Witney VE7KW. 
Preregistration and payment are required one month in advance, i.e. by August 30th, to allow book ordering, delivery and distribution plus study time. The Sept. 30th start day would include handouts and access to the website. The manual will be available as it arrives. The cost will be $110 paid by cash or cheque or via Interac, and that includes printed handouts, power point lesson slides, text book, coffee and snacks. A number of discounts are available (such as for NSARC, EMO/ESS Staff, students with a valid student card, etc.) and information can be found by emailing Sally Finora VA7SMF,

A Morse Code course will be given in the afternoons of the same Saturdays. The Instructor is Carole Eng VA7QCE; with Keith Witney VE7KW acting as facilitator. The cost will be $30, payable in advance by cash, cheque or Interac payment.
Please contact Sally Finora VA7SMF, for more information. 



Mehdi Sadaghar: Making Electricity Fun Painful

Mehdi is an Iranian Canadian electrical engineer and YouTube personality. His videos are "hilariously painful tutorials" of electrical experiments gone wrong, often resulting in shocks. 

As of June 2017, his channel ElectroBOOM has more than 1,000,000 subscribers. His most viewed video, with over 7 million views, is a tutorial on how to make a coilgun.

The man behind the ElectroBOOM vids is equal parts Bill Nye the Science Guy and Evel Knievel. Turns out, he lives in Vancouver, and has become an an international Internet celebrity.
He was born in Iran in 1977, earned a degree of Bachelor of Applied Science (B.A.Sc.) from the University of Tehran in 1999, and a degree of Master of Applied Science from Simon Fraser University in 2006. We hope to convince him to come to a future SARC meeting as a guest presenter.

More on Mehdi at

See his latest video and others at


International Youth Day: Sat, August 12th

VA3RAC will be active on International Youth Day:

Saturday, August 12 Rob Noakes, VE3PCP, to operate VA3RAC for RAC Canada 150

Rob Noakes, VE3PCP, one of our newest RAC members, will be operating the VA3RAC station on International Youth Day this Saturday, August 12 as part of the RAC Canada 150 Award. He will be operating from Station Beach in Kincardine, Ontario at the Kincardine Area Youth Advisory Council (KAYAC) Beach Bash. 

International Youth Day is commemorated every year on August 12. The theme of International Youth Day 2017 is “Youth Building Peace”. Since the adoption of Security Council Resolution 2250 in 2015, there is growing recognition that as agents of change, young people are critical actors in conflict prevention and sustaining peace. International Youth Day 2017 is dedicated to celebrating young people’s contributions to conflict prevention and transformation as well as inclusion, social justice and sustainable peace.

Rob provided the following information: 

“My hope is that this will be the start of a wider interest in celebrating International Youth Day and getting more youth interested in Amateur Radio! It would be good if this could become a special event next year with more than one station! I would like to encourage other Amateurs to participate either by contact or by coming out to help with logging.

I will be running a single HF rig with a mobile antenna for 40m and 20m mounted to my enclosed event trailer. It happens to be a classic TS520 that I will be running. I will also have a 2m rig with a mobile antenna as well. I will probably put it on a mast to improve coverage as we will be on the beach. Here is the Google Map link for the actual location:

My intent is to operate on 20m and 40m phone as well as to monitor local repeaters and 146.52 simplex on 2m.
40m from 7.15 to 7.20 MHz
20m from 14.150 to 14.250 MHz.
2m – 146.52 Simplex

2m Repeaters
VE3TIV – 146.610 Kincardine (No Tone)
VE3OBC – 146.910 Goderich – Tone 123.0
VE3RTE – 146.730 Paisley – Tone 156.7 (it is also linked to VE3OSR on 146.940 – Tone 97.4 and maybe others as well)”

Additional Information:

The following information is courtesy of the International Youth Day website:
In 1999, in its resolution 54/120, the General Assembly endorsed the recommendation made by the World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth (Lisbon, August 8-12, 1998) that August 12 be declared International Youth Day. The Assembly recommended that public information activities be organized to support the Day as a way to promote better awareness of the World Program of Action for Youth, adopted by the General Assembly in 1995 (resolution 50/81).

International Youth Day is commemorated every year on August 12. The Focal Point on Youth selects a theme for the day often with input from youth organizations and members of the UN Inter-Agency Network in Youth development. It also organizes a commemoration of the Day at United Nations Headquarters in New York. The Program encourages youth around the world to organize activities to raise awareness about the situation of youth in their country. Youth are encouraged to send in a description of their planned activities to The most creative activities are featured on the Program’s website to provide a sense of how International Youth Day is being commemorated around the world and to encourage other youth to take action.

The theme of International Youth Day 2017 is “Youth Building Peace”. Since the adoption of Security Council Resolution 2250 in 2015, there is growing recognition that as agents of change, young people are critical actors in conflict prevention and sustaining peace. International Youth Day 2017 is dedicated to celebrating young people’s contributions to conflict prevention and transformation as well as inclusion, social justice and sustainable peace.

The official commemorative event to celebrate International Youth Day at the United Nations Headquarters in New York will take place on Friday, August 11, 2017.
For more information please visit the United Nations website:
IYD 2017 info:

General information: United Nations website:

For information on RAC Youth programs please visit:

Youth Education Program:
RAC Scholarship and Grant Program:

Alan Griffin
RAC MarCom Director


JOTA - Scouting Jamboree On The Air

On Saturday, October 21st we will host area Scouts for the 60th annual Jamboree On The Air. JOTA is the largest Scouting event in the world with over one million Scouts participating across 150+ countries. They have an opportunity to discover the exciting communications possibilities that Amateur Radio offers and, in doing so, make contacts with other Scouting groups around the world. See

This year, SEPAR, the Surrey Emergency Program Amateur Radio is hosting the event. Depending on sign-up numbers and weather, Surrey JOTA will be either at our Operational Training Centre or outdoors with a field station. 

We hope to offer additional activities this year including some Morse code practice, an exercise using hand-held radios and 'Fox hunting'. No, not real foxes but a hidden transmitter that is found using radio direction finding techniques.

Stan VA7NF coaches a JOTA 2016 participant

We are excited that this year, Canada's 150th birthday offers us the opportunity to use the callsign VE7RAC. This is part of a contest by Radio Amateurs of Canada challenging stations from around the world to make a contact with all Canadian Provinces and Territories and, in doing so, win a commemorative award. See

If your Scouting Unit would like to participate, please send an email to Space will be limited so preference will be given to units from the Surrey area.


The On-line Communicator: August 2017

The Month in Review: JULY 2017

We do not publish the regular monthly edition of the Communicator in July and August, but it was another month worthy of a news brief; so here are some items to keep you up to date.

An OTC Work Party

Last week there was a work party at the Surrey Amateur Radio Operational Training Centre, 'The OTC'. Priority was to install the new Alfa-Spid rotator on the mast and get it hooked into the radio room.

Rotary Bike-A-Thon For Hearing Loss

This annual benefit event occurs every July and spans a distance of 120 Km from Burnaby to Harrison Hot Springs along the Lougheed Highway. Riders collect pledges from their sponsors. Amateur Radio provides assistance all along the route and specifically at a number of rest stops. Many of the radio volunteers are SARC members but the group also includes Amateurs from other organizations. 

This year, the 33rd edition, about $140,000 was raised for treatment of children with hearing impairment. A nice dinner followed at the Harrison Hot Springs Hotel. Kudos to SARC member Ken Clarke VE7BC who has been an organizer from the beginning.

SARC Fall Basic Class

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The RAC Canada 150 Award

The RAC Canada 150 Award is a celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday since Confederation in 1867. The Award is issued for contacting the RAC stations between July 1, 2017 and December 31, 2017. In addition to the RAC Canada Contest, the RAC Canada Winter Contest and the IARU HF Championship Contest, the RAC stations will be activated by volunteers at other times by pre-arranged schedule. SARC-SEPAR member Fred Orsetti VE7IO is coordinating the use of the VE7RAC callsign in BC. 
RAC has prepared a few Guidelines and Procedures to assist making contacts with participating stations. SEPAR is planning to operate SSB from the OTC on August 19 and/or 20th using VE7RAC.

More on this in the September Communicator

JOTA - Scouts On The Air

SEPAR has been asked to provide the support for local Scouts to participate in JOTA - Scouts On The Air again this year. Last year the event was held at the OTC with about 15 Scouts participating. We hope to expand the program for 2017 to include Morse Code practice, a hand-held radio exercise and possibly a small foxhunt so that they can remain busy while one of them is on the air via HF. If you would like to assist on Saturday, October 20, contact John VE7TI at communicator@ve7sar.netFor more information on the exercise browse

GNU Radio Workshop

Hopefully the SARC members who have signed up for this workshop on September 30 have already ordered their dongle. If not, the time is now! Kevin McQuiggin VE7ZD will follow up on his excellent presentation from our March general meeting.

ARDF Events in August

August 3rd: Presentation by Michael Sterba, KG7HQ talking on the general subject “Radio Direction Finding” at the North Shore Amateur Radio Club.

August 12th: ARDF fox-hunt event, 80m - Day Trip to Victoria. A venue to be selected, hosted by Victoria Friendship Amateur Radio Society. More info will be available at We plan to car pool, please RSVP if you can drive and how many people you can take, or you will be on foot and need a ride.

Contact Amel at or site for more details.

Are Your Dues Due?

Our fiscal year ended on May 30th so if you have not renewed, a friendly reminder to do so. You can bring it to a meeting, a Saturday morning coffee or use this link to pay your Membership Via PayPal

Weekly Coffee

Our weekly meet-up continues through summer at the Kalmar Family Restaurant, King George Blvd at 81st Avenue. Come join us any Saturday between 8 and 10am.  

August Social

We will get together for an informal gathering in lieu of a regular monthly meeting on Wednesday, August 9 at 7pm at the OTC. Our regular general meetings resume September 13th at EMBC.

See you next month when we start our new season with a full issue Communicator


The Eruption of Mt. St. Helens

Remembering the amateur radio account by Gerry Martin W7WFP On Sunday, March 27, 1980, a series of volcanic explosions and pyroclastic flows...

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